Tree Top: The Difference Is Local


Is all apple juice created equal? Tree Top, a 52-year-old apple juice brand that has not run TV advertising for 30 years, is ready to make a point that Tree Top stands above the rest. 

Today, the brand begins running a TV spot -- first in West Coast markets -- that will spotlight Selah, Wash., where it sources its apples. The effort is designed to give Tree Top cachet as a locally grown and pressed juice and build loyalty in a market that has largely become commoditized and driven by prices, partly because of large numbers of apples imported from China. 

The campaign does not get into specifics such as the fact that Tree Top is an apple grower's co-op, but the message is that the region's growers care about their product -- thus Tree Top’s brand tagline, “Real Fruit From Real People.”



The effort, via Seattle-based independent Cole & Weber and filmmaking team Everynone, launches with a TV spot called “Cool,” where kids react with simple wonder to things like hearing the ocean in an abalone shell, chasing a train, catching a bullfrog, making a bicycle roll by itself and other Tom Sawyer-esque exploits. The creative is juxtaposed with shots of Tree Top’s juice making, and the theme line “Made with a sense of wonder.”

Michael Doherty, president of Cole & Weber, says while the effort begins in San Diego, Denver, Portland, Ore.,and Washington State, which serve as test markets, the campaign will roll out nationwide. "It will appear all over the U.S." He points out that distribution of Tree Top just got a big boost from a deal with Starbucks that puts the brand's juice boxes in all of the coffee seller's locations nationwide. 

John Maxham, executive CD, says the campaign and its timing reflect some fairly recent changes that have commoditized the apple juice category and made it more driven by price and deals. "There has been an onslaught of imported apples from China, and there has been kind of a race to the bottom in terms of promotion in the category. So Tree Top, being a Washington State apple grower, wanted to give the idea of the sense of 'place'; that they are domestic and come from a small town and from family farmers who care about the land and what they do." 

He adds that the brand wanted to spotlight the regionally of Tree Top's production by focusing on the values and lifestyle of the region. "Also, people are more and more interested in where their food comes from, and who makes it and produces it." 

Maxham adds that the there will be a large digital component to the campaign, including video assets. "We are going to be building on the Web site, and there are other pieces in the works. We would like to give people a chance to meet the folks in Selah and give them an up-close experience." He says there will also be out-of-home and point-of-sale elements.

"One of the things that inspired the team was that we have taken frequent trips out there and one thing we noticed is that people love their jobs and approach it with a childlike sense of wonder. Given the fact that a major target is moms with children, we thought there was a tie to the way kids view the world with a sense of wonder and the way farmers and growers approach making the juice." 

The ads will run mostly on spot and cable in the western states, and then go national, where Tree Top is in retailers. 

And later, there will be a consumer content/social media component, per Maxham. He says that will involve soliciting people to contribute content about things their kids are amazed by or find inspiring. "We want to start that conversation; we'd love to hear from people about what they find to be amazing."

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